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To browse Academia. Skip to main content. You're using an out-of-date version of Internet Explorer. Log In Sign Up. Digital terrestrial television roll-out policies in Spain and the changing television scene in the context of analogue switch-off. It also considers, from national, regional and local perspectives, the implications of this digitalization process for the terrestrial television scene in Spain.

Finally, it points to a number of pending public policy issues and potential market trends. As a result of this process, Spain has become one of the first large Western European countries with a predominantly terrestrial television model to switch off analogue broadcasts.

Keywords: DTT Spain analogue switch-off broadcasting policy digitalization television market Spain was one of the first large Western European countries with a predominantly terrestrial television model to switch off analogue broadcasts. The official switch-off date was chosen to coincide with the renewal of analogue terrestrial television licences 3 April Consequently, sexta the end ofa decision was taken to implement the switch-off process in three phases JuneDecember and Aprilwhich was in fact achieved with relatively few problems.

According to the Government of Spain, having an earlier analogue switch-off fusoin than other European Union countries meant that Spanish fusjon would be able to install Antena3 infrastructures in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Finland, Norway, etc.

2010 fact, the government claimed that Spanish companies in the DTT business sector had positioned themselves strategically in order to service future markets, such antena3 Latin America, Asia and Africa Ministerio de Industria, Turismo y Comercio a.

This article 2010 the main DTT roll-out policies developed and applied in Spain between and May At the same time, it analyses the changes that, as a consequence of this process, the Spanish television scene has experienced. Article published in International Journal of Digital Television 1 3pp. DOI: From this point onwards, when reference is made to the regional context, sexta should be understood as being synonymous with coverage in antenx3 territory of one of the seventeen autonomous communities into which, since the restoration of democracy in the late s and early s, the antena3 of Spain has been divided.

At the end of the document, and by way of a conclusion, the sexta considers pending policy issues, such as the introduction of HDTV and mobile DTT. It will also point sexta potential trends in the evolution of the DTT market.

Some contextual considerations In Spain, television broadcasts have traditionally been terrestrial. Analogue cable broadcasts had always been very marginal except in the Region of Murcia until cabling was carried out for third-generation networks and triple-play services were offered — mainly in urban centres — in the s.

Inthe cable business — and digital cable television in particular — is controlled by a company called Ono, which enjoys a de facto monopoly, even though the sector was deregulated in When analogue terrestrial television was switched antena3, there were around 1.

In any event, despite the evolution that new platforms satellite, cable and IPTV have experienced over the last decade, at the beginning ofterrestrial television had the strongest ssxta by far in Spanish homes.

However, this presence was even stronger inwhen sexta initial measures aimed at rolling out DTT were adopted. In addition, there were six regional public television operators. Three of them fusion antens3 in Catalonia, the Basque Country and anetna3 Valencian Community — had two channels each. The situation for local television was very different. A bill had been passed insetting out that each municipality could have one local public television station and, if frequencies were available, one local commercial television station.

However, the Antena3 of Spain never approved the required fusion plan for frequencies for local Article published in International Journal of Digital Television 1 3pp. Powers for communication policy in Spain are shared between the State and the autonomous communities. Consequently, central government grants licences for national coverage and the regional governments — the Catalan Audiovisual Council CAC in Catalonia — grant licences for regional and local coverage, with considerable room laa manoeuvre when it comes to setting the criteria eexta granting them.

National DTT Antena3 fhsion process of rolling out DTT with national coverage in Spain, there are two clearly identifiable phases: the first, basically promoted from by the Partido Popular conservative government, which opted for pay-TV as the driver fusion digitalization, which ended in failure; and the second, beginning when the socialist fusio gained power in Marchwhich initially opted for free-to-air DTT, which led to a successful switch-off in April However, as we shall see later, the latter was not devoid of contradictions.

The following sections deal with the most significant traits of the policies developed and applied in these two phases. They particularly underscore the implications of policies that overturned restrictions on mergers between companies with DTT capacity. Therefore, crammed into this multiplex were the most experienced companies in the sector including the public operatorwhile fourteen programmes fusion and a half multiplexes were set aside for fusion multichannel pay-TV platform Quiero TV and the two remaining programmes were set aside for the granting of free-to-air DTT licences Veo TV and Net TV.

They had been considering merging the two for quite some, since it was clear that there was no room in the market sexta both. All of this 2010 set within a context in which the stakeholders involved in the process of DTT roll-out the Sexta of Spain, television companies, receiver manufacturers, aerial fitters, etc. 2010 example, DTT promotion campaigns were not carried out well enough, and the citizens — fusion were not used to having to pay to watch television — bought very few set-top boxes.

As sexta result, the manufacturers were left with a considerable stock of these products sitting in their warehouses. Meanwhile, television companies did not produce specific h for DTT because the business seemed unviable. Consequently, they did not contribute to raising customer demand. Confronted with this situation, in the spring ofQuiero TV which only 2010 90, subscribers went bust and handed back its licences, and, inthe Partido Popular conservative government decided to make the licence contract conditions more flexible for Veo TV and Net TV for example, their shareholding stability obligations were removed and the commitment to prioritizing national and European Union audio-visual production was postponed.

Although the remit of these two was limited to rebroadcasting fusion produced for other platforms, they lost quite a t of money because they had to pay for Article published in International Journal of Digital Television 1 fusilnpp.

The Socialist government elected in March was therefore forced to reconsider how to allocate the spectrum freed up after 20010 TV surrendered its antena3. For the transition period, it first set aside five programmes for the State public television operator TVE.

Second, it set aside one for each of the five private operators holding terrestrial television licences that were actually broadcasting simulcasting or digital broadcasting only. Third, it announced a new tender to grant two new DTT programmes to one company. This amounted to a total of twelve programmes. Sexta, there were another eight still available from the original twenty programmes planned in In order to take this decision, it was first necessary to reform the Private Television Act, which only allowed for the existence of three private analogue terrestrial sexta channels with national coverage.

Therefore, the socialist government, arguing that it would foster pluralism, authorized antena3 fourth private analogue terrestrial television channel free-to-air at the height fusion the digital transition process.

The beneficiary of this concession was an emerging communication group Imagina Media Audiovisualwhich was essentially taking shape around two large production companies, the Catalan-based Article published antenq3 International Journal of Digital Fusion 1 3pp. Thus, the only terrestrial pay-TV offering that existed in Spain after Quiero TV went bust disappeared from the television scene, and a completely free-to-air model was formed, with five channels offered by the public operator and fifteen channels offered by six private companies.

Of these six, three the historical ones, which had licences to provide analogue services had three channels each, while the other three 2010 terrestrial television licence-holders in the DTT roll-out context had two each. As we shall see later, this situation would even itself out after the analogue switch-off, when each licence-holder had a multiplex carrying four programmes.

First, when it 2010 that Spain had opted antena3 a free-to-air DTT model, in the socialist government once again chose to 2010 the green light to a pay-TV DTT model in principle, with a maximum of one programme per licence-holder. This decision was embodied in a decree-law, a measure that the Spanish Constitution only foresees for situations of extraordinary and urgent need.

Second, a few months earlier, in Februaryusing the same decree-law method, the Government of Spain had made the regulations for media concentration more flexible. This allowed companies holding licences for DTT with national coverage to merge their businesses on condition that the total audience figure for all of their channels did not exceed 27 per cent fusioj the share, that they did not have more than two national multiplexes, and that there were at least three licence-holders.

This was exactly the same number of licence-holders that, lwwas considered insufficient to guarantee pluralism, and the fusikn why the Private Television Act was modified to allow La Sexta to offer analogue broadcasts. As a consequence of the policies described, this was the map of DTT with national coverage in Spain after the analogue switch-off April : Article published in International Journal of Digital Television 1 3pp.

La 1 Antena 3 Telecinco FDF 1. Cuatro 6. VEO 7 sexa. Disney Channel 2. Negotiations between the main television companies When analogue terrestrial television was switched off Aprila number of business operations were being negotiated between the owners of private television companies with national sexxta that, if concluded, would significantly transform the map fusion the television sector.

As mentioned earlier, in Marchthere were six operators in Spain holding licences for DTT with national coverage, broadcasting fifteen different programmes. This would allow them to offer advertisers significant audience ratings and, at the same time, relieve the pressure being placed on them by their creditor banks.

In addition, in its first year as a shareholder, PRISA will be able to appoint a vice-chairman and a director of news services Expansion. However, it would have the option to sell its shareholding to Mediaset at the end of that period Expansion. This explains 2010 the contract referred to earlier, between the parties involved in the operation, could not be signed until that date.

Even though the authors consider it too soon to be able to draw any conclusions from this operation, it is worth pointing out that the new television company plans to control Inspired by the French policy, this measure means that since Article published in International Journal of Digital Television 1 3pp. In The Financial Times reported that Mediaset was the big winner in this agreement.

The group has a lot of experience in the multichannel pay-TV business segment and, therefore, it may try and take advantage of 2010 edge it has to finally make a profit. As at the date of the analogue switch-off in Spain, there was no official information about this operation. Therefore, it is the only one that has a legal obligation to publicly announce negotiations of this type.

Since then, Antena 3 has not announced any changes in this respect. In practice, and in the specific instance of television, this means, for example, that there has been ever-greater leeway to promote public operators and to regulate their organization and operation and to grant broadcasting licences to private operators. This Act allowed regions to have their own public television stations, and those who decided to do so gradually set them up.

The first ones emerged in territories where nationalist feelings were more deep rooted: the Basque Country, Catalonia and Galicia.

The way in which TVE was politicized was copied by television stations in the regions. The main reason why these regions did not have public television stations was the high level of anttena3 they require. In fact, regional public television stations generally have high deficits, despite the fact that they are able to broadcast advertising and receive public subsidies.

Through the National Technical Plan fsuion DTT, referred to earlier when talking about DTT with national coverage, central government, whose governing party at that time was the conservative Partido Popular, also outlined the design for regional DTT. The most significant novel aspect of the model was that it authorized the creation of regional private television stations.

The plan allocated one multiplex carrying four programmes to each region as from 31 October Of these four programmes, two were set aside for public television stations using analogue technology for their broadcasts so that they could either start simulcasting or create an additional channel if they only had one analogue channel.

The other two programmes could be awarded to private companies antena3 public tender. In the first phase of DTT roll-out —only four regions granted broadcasting licences to the private sector: Madrid, La Rioja, Navarre and Catalonia. The analogue public channel Telemadrid began simulcasting on digital, and a second digital-only public channel La Otra was started.

La Rioja and Navarre did not have regional public television stations and their respective governments had aantena3 stated that they had no intention of setting any up. However, they took advantage of DTT to allow private television stations to operate in their respective territories.

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The former fused in to form Digital+, which is run by Sogecable. In and and La Sexta. Digitalization in then saw a great proliferation of TV channels. Moreover, Grupo Antena 3 would buy La Sexta in As a result of the. Desde del 1 de junio de , La Sexta comienza a emitir su continuidad y .. No obstante, tras la fusión de Antena 3 y La Sexta materializada desde el 1 de. Deal comes as Spanish broadcaster La Sexta - owned by Televisa and Imagina - nears merger with rival channel Antena 3. Imagina, which was created in by the fusion of Spanish TV production titans some € billion ($ billion) in , with 25 percent coming from sales outside of Spain.